Olly Headey

December 26, 2022

My 2022 in culture

2022 almost felt normal, at least in terms of going to the cinema, theatre, gigs. Here’s a quick look back on the things I watched/read/listened to across the year.

Music
I don’t feel I listened to that much great new music in 2022, or found an album that I just couldn’t stop listening to. There were some good ones, of course, and the top 10 lists of the usual media outlets were fawning over Beyoncé, Wet Leg, Kendrick, but I didn’t love them as albums. Some great tracks on each, but they didn’t connect with me. Maybe I’m just getting old 😅 Here are the albums that I listened to most. 

  • Hall of Fame - Polo G (released towards the end of 2021 but I only discovered it this year)
  • The Car - Arctic Monkeys
  • Actual Life 3 - Fred again…
  • If I never know you like this again - SOAK
  • Unwanted - Pale Waves
  • Skinty Fia - Fontaines D.C
  • Dawn FM - The Weeknd
  • Midnights - Taylor Swift

There were loads of other tracks I liked and I made a playlist of those.

Gigs
I went to a few gigs this year, listed below in order of my faves (best first).

  • Lorde. Usher Hall, Edinburgh. This was just incredible. I’d seen her play Glasto on the TV which was fabulous, but seeing her live was mesmerising.
  • SOAK. The Caves, Edinburgh. I hadn’t heard of SOAK until Spotify recommended the album. It’s a good album but the band really came into their own live, especially in a venue as beautiful and intimate as The Caves. 
  • Fontaines D.C. O2 Academy, Edinburgh. Massive band, excellent performance.
  • Pavement. Usher Hall, Edinburgh. Legends, performing hit after hit. 
  • Roy Ayers Ubiquity. Liquid Rooms, Edinburgh. Despite being in his 80s, Roy has still got it and his band were super-tight.
  • Dinosaur Jr. QMU, Glasgow. Typical Mascis noisefest. Good, but it felt like they were just going through the motions.

Theatre
Had a few trips to the theatre for some notable shows, most at the Edinburgh Fringe which was back in full for 2022.

  • Hamilton, London. Finally saw this and it didn’t disappoint. Quite possibly the best musical I’ve seen (and I’ve seen most of the big ones).
  • Dear Evan Hansen, NYC. Saw this on holiday and loved it, made even more special by the surprise (to us, at least) appearance of Gaten Matarazzo as Jared on his first night.
  • August Wilson’s How I Learned What I Learned (Edinburgh Fringe). This was a tremendous one man show. Stunning performance.
  • Yippee Ki Yay (Edinburgh Fringe). A one man reenactment of Die Hard. Simply astonishing. 
  • Bloody Elle - A Gig Musical (Edinburgh Fringe). A one woman acting/musical show about a working class woman growing up and coming out in the north. Amazing.

Film / TV
I didn’t watch that much. I did create a long list of things I want to watch, but I never seem to find the time. Here are some of the few things I saw that I enjoyed. 

  • Andor (Disney+). Best Star Wars series yet, by far.
  • The Playlist (Netflix). I love a good tech startup drama and this one didn’t disappoint.
  • Thirteen Lives. I never watched the documentary The Rescue but I thought this dramatisation of the Thailand cave rescue was excellent.
  • Where the Crawdads Sing. Good adaptation of the book.
  • Top Gun: Maverick. More Tom Cruise in fighter jets… what’s not to like?
  • The Lost King. An average movie but it was fun location spotting since most of it was filmed in Edinburgh (including near our house).
  • Bullet Train. I quite enjoyed the book but I didn’t think much of the film. Way too much Hollywood silliness. Admittedly Brad Pitt plays a good part. 
  • The Duke. Excellent British film with Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren.

Books
I had a good start to the year and read quite a few, but then started a new job and didn’t read for months. I need to change that in 2023. Here are some books I liked.

  • Invisible Child - Andrea Elliot. This is honestly one of the best books I’ve read. It won a Pulitzer Prize. Go read it. Wow.
  • Stamped - Jason Reynolds. I’m a big Reynolds fan. This one is a young adult version of Stamped from the Beginning and it’s superb. Give it to your teenage kids.
  • Bullet Train - Kōtarō Isaka. I read this before I watched the film. It’s ok, not amazing, but I liked the concept. 
  • The Paper Palace - Miranda Cowley Heller. I absolutely loved this novel. Beautifully written, I didn’t want it to end. Will read it again and I rarely do that.
  • Four Thousand Weeks - Oliver Burkeman. I wouldn’t say it changed my life (as per some of the reviews) but it’s certainly a timely reminder about the shortness of life.
  • And Away… - Bob Mortimer. People were raving about this. It had its moments, but I thought it was a bit overrated. 

Would love to hear your thoughts and recommendations. 

About Olly Headey

Journal of Olly Headey. Co-founder of FreeAgent. Director of Engineering at 37signals. More at headey.net.